Japanese Koi fish is a decorative form of domesticated carp. Carps have been a valuable commercial fish since ancient times. Due to its unpretentiousness and good taste, this fish was bred in artificial ponds back in the 15th-20th centuries. This was the only source of animal protein in some mountainous provinces.
A variety of mutations contributed to the emergence of fish with unusual and bright body colors. Such unique animals were not eaten but became a real decoration of garden ponds. In modern Japan, no garden is complete without a pond with Koi – ranging from small private households to large city parks. Such ponds are a great place for meditation and contemplation.
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Unique Appearance and Varieties of Koi Fish
Over many years of breeding, the shape and color of the body of Koi fish have changed significantly and now only remotely resemble the ancestral form. Although some distinctive features, for example, such as the characteristic antennae, have been preserved.
Colored carps are rather large fish. The average size, when kept in a pond, reaches 50-70 cm with an average weight of about 6 kg. The head is large. The body is elongated. The caudal fin is single but strong enough, allowing the fish to easily maneuver in the water. The fins are well developed and in proportion to the body. The color of the body is very diverse and directly depends on the specific breed. Also, the color is influenced by external conditions: water quality, degree of illumination, and feed quality.
As a result of centuries of breeding, more than 80 color variations of Koi fish were obtained, which are currently combined according to common features into 16 groups:
- Asagi is a fully scaly Koi with a light mesh pattern on the back on a dark blue background. The flanks, belly, and fins are usually colored red;
- Bekko – the body of fish of this breed is white, red, or yellow with patterns of black spots. The best representatives have a clean head, without spots;
- Goshiki is usually black Koi with red, white, brown, and blue hues;
- Doitsu is a breed obtained by crossing with the German scaleless carp. The scales are completely absent, or go in several rows, resembling that of a mirror carp. Coloring can be any;
- Kawarimono – this group includes carp without a metallic sheen, not falling into other categories;
- Kin-Gin-Rin – Koi with sparkling golden or silver scales;
- Koromo – the name of the group can be translated as “covered with a veil”, which indicates a pattern of dark color superimposed on the main red color;
- Kohaku is the classic Koi breed, the best known. The body is white with bright red or orange-red spots with a clearly defined border;
- Ogon – this group is characterized by a uniform color without spots;
- Shusui – blue back, wide red spots on the sides;
- Taisho Sanke – carps of this group are characterized by a white body with red and black spots;
- Tancho is a very original breed. The fish are white in color with one red spot on the head, which in appearance is very reminiscent of the Japanese flag. Named after a symbol of Japan – the Tancho crane;
- Utsurimono – black Koi with white, red, or yellow streaks;
- Hikari-moyomono – these Koi have scales with a metallic sheen, the color is golden-silver;
- Showa sanshoku is a black carp with red and white spots. The name was given in honor of Emperor Showa;
- Kumonryu is a black naked carp with white spots on the body, head, and belly.
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If you want to learn also how to breed koi fish